Project Management Appraisal (PMA)
An enquiry into the effectiveness of a project's management may
take one of several forms. It may range from a one-off assessment,
through a periodic independent review, to an on-going project management
overview. It can also range from an informal internal enquiry to
a full and formal project management audit.
For purposes of this discussion, since there are a range of possibilities
in this testing of project management effectiveness, it will be
convenient to use the term Project Management Appraisal. Obviously,
the type of appraisal to be adopted must be selected according to
the particular project circumstances.
If the project is critical and/or complex, but not necessarily
very long in duration or politically exposed, and if senior management
are unable to participate sufficiently to be comfortable with reports
of progress, then a relatively informal internal commentary may
be all that is required.
If the project is likely to be politically exposed, or is in the
public sector, then a more formal, and more independent enquiry
is appropriate. If the project is also of longer duration overall,
then a series of enquiries at selected intervals, or at key points
of the project life cycle, will be required.
If during construction a weakness in management coordination is
suspected, but the implementation of the project is already structured
according to the terms of a central contract, or series of related
contracts, then an on-going review, or Project Management Overview
(PMO) as it is called, may be more appropriate to further strengthen
the work of the project management team.
The PMO is not necessarily continuous, but rather is a relatively
frequent periodic monitoring of the project's management processes.
In fact, continuous monitoring is undesirable, since this merely
adds another layer in the organizational hierarchy, and therefore
tends to dilute the obligations of those who should normally carry
the responsibility. PMO has application whether or not the project
owner has its own supervising engineering department, or engages
project managers, construction managers, or general contractors
to execute its capital works.
If all of these considerations are applicable, and especially if
the project or program is of long duration, in fact many years,
then full scale formal project management audits at prescribed intervals
by an independent consulting firm specializing in this type of work
may well be mandatory.